Expert Review: Blizzard Bonafide 97

This review is my own honest opinion of the skis, which I bought with my own money in February 2021.

Photo by Tim Scialabba with the Blizzard Bonafide 97 Skis

Photo by Tim Scialabba

Published on

About this review This review is my own honest opinion of the skis, which I bought with my own money in February 2021.

My take

For those who like to ski fast, charge hard in all conditions, and leave friends in the dust, these bombers are ideal. Not for the faint of heart and requiring solid technique, the 2021-2022 Blizzard Bonafides provide stability and edge control when needed most. Built with an innovative Trueblend wood core, wrapped in 2.5 sheets of titanal, and carbon tips and tails, the Bonafides take a few steps forward in the “One Ski Quiver” category. Advanced-to-expert skiers will find lots of extra confidence on steep, wide-open terrain (where these skis really want to open up).

Photo by Tim Scialabba with the Blizzard Bonafide 97 Skis

Photo by Tim Scialabba

About the gear

  • Model: 2021-2022 Blizzard Bonafide 97
  • Size: 183 cm

About me

  • Height: 5’ 11”
  • Weight: 230 lbs
  • Experience: 32 years

Test conditions

  • When I bought these: February 2021
  • Days tested: 12
  • Mount position: Standard
  • Boots: Lange RX 130
  • Boot Size: 28.5
  • Bindings: 2021 Marker Griffon
  • Where I’ve used it: Gore Mountain, New York
  • Terrain: Hard pack, groomers, steeps, bumps, trees, packed powder, spring slush, powder

How it performs

Carving
5/5
Durability
5/5
Flotation
4/5
High Speed Stability
5/5
Turn Ease
4/5
Versatility
5/5

What I was looking for

My quiver was getting old and banged up. I love my Line Sir Francis Bacons and 2016 Blizzard Brahmas, but I wanted skis that are more lively and have better edge hold. I needed an all-mountain ripper that excels in all conditions.

Why I chose this gear

I like to ski fast and hard, given my racing roots and love for the GS turn, so I wanted a pair of skis that were damp, powerful, and full of energy. I also considered the Volkl Mantra M5, K2 Mindbender 99ti, Salomon Stance 96, and Head Kore 93. But after trying a few pairs of skis (all really good in their own right), the Blizzard Bonafide 97s felt the most glued to the snow on hardpack, crud, chop, and slush. They also felt light and soft enough in the tips and tails to rip tight turns in the trees and bumps. This versatility and affinity for speed really checked all the boxes.

I’ve been a fan of Blizzard skis over the years and really enjoy my Brahmas. I know they’re well-built, durable, and made by a top Austrian ski company that takes pride in its quality.

What I love about it

  • Speed: These skis crave speed. They perform best when I point them downhill. The construction and shape are built for stability and larger radius turns. The Trueblend Flipcore is made of vertical laminates strung together with lightweight beech and strong poplar woods wrapped in two sheets of titanal metal. This construction provides a very strong and progressive flex that dampens vibrations for a solid feel.
  • Edge Hold: Bonafides have long been known for their strength and edge hold, and these are no exception. The 2021-2022 version updated the shape and camber to increase effective edge. Blizzard achieved this by reducing early rise and adding more traditional camber. For me, the camber was one of the most positive features of this ski. On steep hard pack terrain, I was able to tip the skis up on high edge angles and hold pressure confidently all the way through the turn.
  • Turns: These skis want to turn. The 18.5-meter radius is fairly short in the category for a 183-centimeter ski. It does take some speed and pressure delivered to the forebodies to get them going, but once I do, I’m on rails. The added camber to the 2021-2022 Bonafide 97 teamed with a softer tip and tail allow for easier turn initiation while adding extra pop and rebound on the bottom of the radius. In other words, tip them over, flex center to forward, and expect big things!
  • Groomers: Bonafides lay trenches in corduroy.
  • Powder: I did not test these in deep, fresh snow. I did manage to ski in some three to five inches of chop and crud. The Bonafides flattened crud.
  • Trees: An adjustment in skiing technique was needed. I had to put them together and stand a little taller than the usual stance to get them to swivel in the trees. Once this more traditional style was adopted, the Bonafides were a blast. The carbon tips and tails really make the difference in the trees and bumps because they flex a bit more than the metal laminate portions of the skis while maintaining the vibration damping. The extra flex with less weight allows me to move quickly in the variable terrain.
  • Durability: Blizzard makes very durable, long-lasting skis. Top sheets take normal wear and tear, with small cuts as edges will collide in active skiing. There are no chips or chunks, as the top sheet is soft but malleable. Edges and bases are thick and hearty. I saw no noticeable damage after 12 days of conscientious skiing.
  • Weight: These are heavy but glued to the snow! It takes a skier with some strength and power to wield these skis. However, the Trueblend Flipcore is tailored to each length of ski (i.e. 177 is different then 183), making the shorter skis softer and more accessible to shorter, smaller skiers. This makes a ton of sense given the nature of this beast.
  • Stability: These are the most damp skis I tried. Bonafides excel at absorbing chatter and vibrations.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Backcountry: These are not ideal for uphill touring unless I’m looking for an additional challenge, given the weight of these bad boys. However, these are great for hard charging wide-open turns in backcountry bowls. Bonafides have always excelled at this, and this year’s skis are no exception. As speed is built up, they become more manageable in flex, vibration damping, and edge hold, meaning the more speed I build, the more control I have over what the skis really want to do.
  • Moguls: Similar to trees, I had to get used to the swivel feel of these skis. It takes a light touch, but the bumps are well-absorbed and skis flex nicely.
  • Switch Riding: These are directional skis. I do not recommend skiing switch on these.

Favorite moment with this gear

These skis have given me a renewed confidence in my technique and ability. With the chatter and vibration damping, my legs stay fresh and I am often the last one left on the hill in my group.

Value for the money vs. other options

At $749, the Blizzard Bonafide 97s provide an excellent top-end ski at a fair price. It performs as well as, if not better than, its biggest competitors in the Volkl Mantra M5, Salomon Stance 96, Head Kore 99, and K2 Mindbender 99ti (all around the same list price). The Bonafides are a few hundred dollars less than its competitor, the Kastle FX 96HP.

Final verdict

It takes an aggressive skier who is confident on all-terrain to get the most out of the Bonafides. If that’s you, then you will love these skis. They are demanding, fast, and stable. They make me a stronger skier.

If you want to see these skis in action, check out the video below by Curated Experts for more information.

Selling Blizzard on Curated.com
Blizzard Bonafide 97 Skis · 2021
$599.96
Like this article?
Share it with your network

Written By
Tim Scialabba
Tim Scialabba
Ski Expert
Do you ever get that pit in your stomach feeling when you know you should be doing something else? That's me when the snow starts to fly and I'm stuck in my office. ​ I live to ski. Growing up ski racing in the Adirondacks and Northeast, skiing has been a part of me since I could walk. I ventured ou...
View profile

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

Read Next

New and Noteworthy